The City Of London Is Exploding In Colour Each Evening - With This Free Outdoor Light Show

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 24 months ago
The City Of London Is Exploding In Colour Each Evening - With This Free Outdoor Light Show
people walk along a dazzling carpet if light patterns
Imminence by Novak is a carpet of light that appears in St Paul's Churchyard, and beings to life tragedies in the natural world, in a very beautiful way. Photo: Joseph Ironmonger

The City of London is exploding with an exhilarating display of colour and sound each evening from now until 20 February.

The free outdoor show, City Lights, transforms five spaces around the Square Mile with five different installations, namely:

  • Imminence by Novak in St Paul's Churchyard (Northside, by Temple Bar)
  • Harmonic Portal by Chris Plant at St Mary Aldermary Church
  • Colour by Light by Floating Pictures in St Mary le Bow Churchyard Square
  • Celestial Brainstorm by Amelia Kosminsky in Bloomberg Public Plaza , Queen Victoria Street
  • Keys of Light by Mr.Beam in Guildhall Yard
A colourful, patterned path of light outside the darkened dome of st paul's
Imminence. Photo: Joseph Ironmonger

Each of the installations playfully reimagines the area around them, inviting audiences to interact. Imminence by the artist Novak invites you to reflect on tragedies in the natural world — including deforestation, bee extinction and coral bleaching — as they unfold in moving (literally and emotionally) murals beneath your feet.

Follow the Yellowbrick Road but make it climate change. Photo: Joseph Ironmonger

Keys of Light by Mr. Beam invites pianists of all ages and calibres (you can still sign up to take part in this particular installation) to constantly shift the colours and patterns being projected onto the front of the Guildhall building, depending on the tone, speed and volume with which they play.

the front of the guildhall illuminated in psychedelic colours
Keys of Light by Mr.Beam invite pianists to influence the lights projected onto the frontage of the Guildhall. Photo: Joseph Ironmonger
the old frontage of the guildhall, turned multicoloured
Keys of Light. Photo: Joseph Ironmonger

Chris Plant's Harmonic Portal mounts LED light sculptures onto the side of St Mary Aldermary Church, inviting you to explore the three frequencies used by human brains to create colour. This one's accompanied by an ambient soundtrack.

people looking at a glowing disc of blue light
Harmonic Portal invites you to explore the three frequencies used by our brains to create colour. Photo: Munirah Al-Mehri
people gazing at three coloured discs of light
Harmonic Portal. Photo: Munirah Al-Mehri

You can get stuck into a little digital graffiti with Colour by Light, an incredibly fun installation, where you're encouraged to use your phone torch to 'paint' the floor outside St Mary le Bow. (This is the nearest you'll get to going awol with a can a spray paint in the City of London, without getting bundled into a police van.)

people filming colourful striations on the floor
Colour by Light, by Floating Pictures, lets you 'paint' the town red (and yellow and blue...). Photo: Joseph Ironmonger
Colour by Light. Photo: Joseph Ironmonger

Or pull on the rope of Celestial Brainstorm, and watch this kinetic sculpture rotate, throwing out mesmerising light forms onto the surrounding area. This installation draws on artist Amelia Kosminsky's personal experience of photosensitive epilepsy.

people stood looking at a disc, like a lampshade, with patterns cut from it
Celestial Brainstorm - pull on the rope and watch it go. Photo: Joseph Ironmonger

City Lights runs every evening* (5.30pm to 10pm) from now until 20 February. Admission is free, and there's no need to book. Here's a handy map of all the installations' locations.

*Keys of Light is closed 16 and 17 February.

people stood around a glowing disc of light - almost like a zoetrope
...And there it goes. Photo: Joseph Ironmonger

The show follows an incredibly popular installation in 2021, where faux Northern Lights appeared over City of London landmarks.

Last Updated 15 February 2022

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